16 Jesus went on to say, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.” 17 At this, some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” 18 They kept asking, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what he is saying.”
19 Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, “Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’? 20 Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. 21 A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. 22 So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. 23 In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
25 “Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. 27 No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.
In a 2005 interview with 60 Minutes, a young Tom Brady, quarterback of the New England Patriots, reflected on all of his early success:
"Why do I have three Super Bowl rings and still think there’s something greater out there for me? I mean, maybe a lot of people would say, ‘Hey man, this is what is.’ I reached my goal, my dream, my life. Me, I think: God, it’s gotta be more than this. I mean this can’t be what it’s all cracked up to be. I mean I’ve done it. I’m 27. And what else is there for me?"
In the world’s eyes, Tom Brady had it all and yet he still wondered if there was something more to life. He seemed to realize that happiness contingent upon accomplishments is transient, and he yearned for something that could offer him true and lasting joy.
Throughout our study of John 13-17, we have seen that Jesus sends his followers out into the world with many gifts and privileges. According to our passage today, one of these gifts is an incomparable joy that cannot be taken away, even in the face of difficulty and opposition. How can we experience this joy today? Living in a culture that saturates us with empty promises of happiness, where do we turn for lasting happiness and joy?
To discover the significance of Christian joy.
Goal for this section: To examine where we find our joy
All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. The will never takes the least step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves.
Goal for this section: To understand the reason for Christian joy
Goal for this section: To understand how to experience Christian joy
Jesus offers his disciples a joy that cannot be taken away (v. 22). Why do we settle for lesser joys when infinite joy is offered us? Have you ever experienced, in Jesus, the offer of a “holiday at the sea”?
In verse 24, Jesus promises that the Christian’s joy will be complete in answer to prayer. What motivates your desire to pray? How does the promise of joy change the way you view prayer?
Experience tells us we’re more likely to change by consistently completing small actions. What are small steps that we can take as individuals and as a community group to pursue joy?